7 Real Food Tips!

I’ve been learning a lot lately about real food and how good it is for you to eat less processed junk. I’ve actually been working on eating more real food for the last 4 years or so and have lost about 15 lbs, not really trying, but rather just eating less processed junk. 

My journey started with a combination of watching “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” and “Food, Inc.”. I was disturbed by how food is being made these day, and I started shopping more at the farmer’s market near my house. Then, I took a online cooking class on how to cook real food on http://www.nourishedkitchen.com which is now one of my favorite sites for delicious, healthy, real food recipes! I learn lots of good stuff from Jenny and have gotten fun links to other sites from there. 

I’ve been done a lot of reading. From Jenny’s site, I read a lot about the Weston A. Price Foundation (http://www.westonaprice.org) and I also recently really enjoying reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” where she and her family decided to only eat local foods and what they could grow/raise for one year. It was really inspiring and full of great recipes! 

I really recommend you read more about it, because I’ve really enjoyed learning how to cook healthy and from scratch and have been having lots of fun with changing my lifestyle! But, in case you don’t like to do research and prefer reading a short post instead, here’s the gist: 
1. Stay away from processed food – start reading the labels on stuff. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! When I took the real food cooking class, they said to avoid eating/cooking with anything that has more than one or two ingredients. 
2. Eat locally – the more you know where your food comes from (and who grew or raised it) the better off you will be. I have formed nice relationships with the farmers where I have a cow share and “The Egg Lady” and the guy who sells jalapeno cheese at the farmer’s market. The more I learn about commercial meat and vegetable and fruit companies, the more I am afraid of them. Just think about it this way, a humongous company that has thousands of acres of vegetables (or animals) doesn’t care if a few of them are ruined or die because they don’t take good care of them, but a local farmer who only has a few acres or a few animals is going to treat them better because that’s all they’ve got. And, big companies can blame stuff on other people, but one local farmer who sells bad stuff is going to get a name for himself quick and lose business, so he has more motivation to sell good products. To find out where local food is sold near you, check out: http://www.localharvest.org/ 
3. Grow your own stuff – even if it’s just some basil or parsley. The fresher it is, the better it is for you and the more nutrients are still in the veggies. 
4. Cook from scratch with good ingredients – I’ve learned how to make yogurt, ricotta and mozzarella cheese (http://www.cheesemaking.com), marinara sauce, bread, pickled beets, tortillas, soups, and many other delicious items! 
5. Avoid certain foods – stay away from soy (the more I read about it, the scarier it is…heads up, if you’re a guy, it could mess with your hormones and lead to feminization!), trans fats and vegetable oils, corn syrup, meat or milk with hormones or other fake stuff added to it, vegetables and fruits that are out of season (who knows where they are coming from, what they had to go through to get to where you are, and what they had to spray them with to keep them fresh), canned foods, and fake sugar and white sugar (try honey, molasses, raw sugar), and finally, anything that is genetically-modified (GMO). 
6. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables – they are really good for you!!! Eat more of them and learn how to cook with them! Real vitamins and nutrients from plants are way better than the fake stuff they add to make processed foods better for you or the stuff that comes in a pill or a shake. 
7. Don’t be afraid of fats – but make sure you are eating real fats. Real fats = coconut oil, real butter, bacon grease, olive oil, avocados, and meats. Anything in fast food restaurants and take-out (pizza, chinese, etc.) restaurants and most other restaurants use fats and other processed stuff that you should avoid. How to avoid this? Cook at home! You’ll save money and be healthier! 

I hope you find this helpful! For more information, check out these sites: 


8 thoughts on “7 Real Food Tips!

  1. Great post, Allison! I’m very impressed with all you’ve learned and been able to incorporate into your diet and way of life. I’ve long been confused, though, what to eat during the off season. Virginia potentially has a LONG season during which nothing grows. What do you do about fruits/veggies during winter? Is canning/freezing the only option?

    • Josette, a high quality dehydrator is an excellent choice for preserving foods — done correctly, more nutrients are saved AND it can use up to 70% less energy than freezing. The one I am planning to get after reading numerous reviews is the Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator —- MUCH better than those round ones that have uneven drying!

      • I’ve thought about getting that. I’m going to try canning this year (though I say that many years). I think you can get good dehydrators at the Dayton Farmer’s market.

    • Hey, Josette! I don’t always eat local (chocolate, for example), but I mostly shop at the H’burg Farmer’s Market and Red Front (a locally owned supermarket). So far, there has only been one or two weeks when I felt there wasn’t too much at the Farmer’s market. Right now there’s spinach, salad mixes, potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions, butter, cheese, apple cider, meat, corn flour, and probably other stuff that I don’t eat! I still have butternut squash that I grew this year and also a delicata squash that I bought a couple months ago. I froze some tomatoes that I grew and canned some spaghetti sauce (my first attempt at canning, someone told me just to pour it hot into a very clean mason jar and put the special top on…if it is good, it will get sucked down and when you open it later, it will pop when you open it). The thing that I’ve enjoyed about eating within season is that when fruits and tomatoes show up, you’re so excited to see them! This year, I have never been so excited to see a tomato in my whole life! It’s pretty cool. You could check it out next weekend if you’re in the ‘burg. It’s every Saturday from 9am-12pm across from the Daily News Record.

  2. Yea, Allison!! My doc put me on Paleo — because he’d been seeing some astounding results with other patients. No grains, legumes (other than green beans, snap peas and snow peas), no potatoes (not counting sweet potatoes), and nothing processed. This also means only 100% grass fed, grass finished beef and pastured chicken/eggs/hogs. The difference has been, well, ASTOUNDING. …Two books I can not recommend highly enough are “Primal Body; Primal Mind” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” — get hold of them; I promise you won’t be sorry!!

      • Mine isn’t about philosophy (when I first saw Paleo last summer, I thought, “Oh, brother… another whacked out diet fad”). Mine is about results. My sister Lynn and I have *numerous* autoimmune disorders that have completely disabled both of us. This includes Chrone’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and many others. The pain we both live with can be devastating, to say the least.

        My doc actually said a No GBP diet — no grains, beans, and potatoes. But when I started researching (after seeing charts of some of his other patient’s positive changes), I read “Primal Body…” Lots of great, BACKED-UP information. (As a social sciences researcher, I *like* having all the reference sources cited so I can track them down, too!)

        We don’t do as stringent a lifestyle as some seem to — we have diary (raw, from 100% grass-fed animals — still legal in PA where we get it) and our beef may still get some beet mash during finishing, but the differences are astounding!

        We have a form of lupus that puts weight on us no matter what. Now, without us being aware of it, we are losing huge amounts of weight! Lynn lost 49 pounds in 5 months. I’m probably about the same (haven’t weighed in at the doc’s lately to know how much for certain). Both of us have less pain, better range of motion, and the gut problems are drastically reduced. Lynn’s neuropathy is even decreasing!! She had lost feeling in her legs up to mid-thigh, but lately she’s been able to feel things again, even in her toes! 😀

        And I’ve even been able to get back into my studios again, after more than a year of not being able to do artwork. *happy dancing*

        Sooo…. I know this has been long, but I wanted you to know some of the changes ~we’ve~ seen, just by doing a lot of what you are already doing: All 7 of your points, in fact! 😀

        Oh, and BTW, “Omnivore’s Dilemma” isn’t about Paleo… but is a *real* eye-opener on the food industry… even though I’d seen “Food, Inc.” & other documentaries before reading it, too!

  3. Love this post Allison! Thanks so much for the links! I will definitely check them out as soon as I get a chance to really sit down and look at them! I’ve come up with my own versions of the various boxed Helpers they have out there over the years and my kids even like them! That’s always the biggest test in our house. I’m also going to search for more local markets…there’s one out our way where we sometimes get meats. There’s quite a few other markets out here and I need to check them all out! I must say that one of my favorite things in the world is having fresh vegetables in the summer from my Dad’s garden!


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